After a massive vaccine shoot-up on Sunday, the drops post Sunday raised eyebrows with allegations made some states hoarded them for Sunday.
Sources say that some states had hoarded COVID-19 vaccine doses for days to achieve ‘Magic Monday’. In fact, the vaccination numbers across India fell to 54.22 lakh on Tuesday after Monday’s soaring record of 88 lakh, leading to questions on whether such large scale vaccination is sustainable.
The problem areas seemed to be in supply and there were accusations that some states, including Madhya Pradesh, had hoarded vaccine doses for days to achieve the high vaccine rise on Monday.
Of the top 10 states which administered the most doses, seven happen to have BJP governments. It is the Center’s target to fully vaccinate all adults by the end of this year, and for this target, 97 lakh vaccinations need to be administered per day. The current supply situation raises questions on whether the target will be met.
In States such as West Bengal and others, vaccines are still not available and they are still waiting anxiously. It is not enough to just have targets but to also ensure the shots are available. The government claims it has the capacity to store and administer the daily required number of vaccines.
P Chidambaram senior Congress leader and former finance minister criticized the Center saying, “Hoard on Sunday, vaccinate on Monday and go back to limping on Tuesday. That is the secret behind the world “record” of vaccinations on a “single day” I am sure the “feat” will find a place in the Guinness book of records!
Hoard on Sunday, vaccinate on Monday, and go back to limping on Tuesday.
That is the secret behind the world “record” of vaccinations on a “single day”
I am sure the “feat” will find a place in the Guinness book of records!
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 22, 2021
Dr NK Arora, Chairman of NTAGI (National Advisory Group on Immunisation), said, “The government aims to vaccinate 1 crore people each day. And we have the capacity of stocking 1.25 crore doses each day”.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the center is fully cooperating with the states in this matter. “We have been giving advanced visibility to state. We tell them how much doses you will get in next 15 days. So states can plan better,” he said.
However, the drops in supply became starkly visible in Madhya Pradesh. The state that reported administering a record 17 lakh doses, could give less than 5,000 shots on Tuesday till 6.30 pm.
In the run-up to Monday’s record, Madhya Pradesh had cut back heavily on daily vaccinations, hitting a low of just 4,000 doses the day before.
From 37,904 on June 15, the number of jabs dropped to 4,098 on June 20. On June 21, the state recorded 16,95,592 vaccine doses administered. The state government rejected the claim that hoarding to ensure a big spike.
“There is no such issue of hoarding vaccines,” said state Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang. “There may have been some data entry issues that are reflecting lower numbers earlier. All our vaccinations on Monday were done before your eyes. There is nothing to hide. I am shocked by the kind of questions you are asking,” he added.
Also of note, Uttar Pradesh is one of the few states that surpassed its record of 6 lakh doses on Monday by vaccinating more than 7 lakh people on Tuesday.
The drop in vaccinations post Sunday had led the Congress party to say, “Congress says vaccination is a process, not an event.”